EconPol Policy Reports

Cover of EconPol Policy Report 31

Is There a Need for Reverse Mortgages in Germany? Empirical Evidence and Policy Implications

Florian Bartsch (Paris School of Economics), Florian Buhlmann (ZEW Mannheim), Karolin Kirschenmann (ZEW Mannheim), Carolin Schmidt (University of Cambridge)

In the face of shifting demographics capital-funded old-age provision is increasingly becoming important in many European countries. Generating sufficient capital for old-age provision, however, poses a challenge to private households. Homeowners can resort to illiquid housing wealth by using home reversion plans or reverse mort-gages. While reverse mortgages are common in the USA and the UK, a German market is quasi non-existent. This Policy Report provides evidence on the demand- and supply-side reasons for the absence of a reverse mortgage market in Germany. It finds that there is potential for the market to grow in the medium term and could benefit cash-poor but house-rich households, hence decreasing old-age poverty. While the analysis focuses on Germany, its implications are equally relevant for other European countries, in particular for those with higher homeownership rates and less generous public pension schemes.

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Cover of EconPol Policy Report 30

Covid-19 Pandemic: Challenges and a Way Forward

Panu Poutvaara, Madhinee Valeyatheepillay (EconPol Europe, ifo Institute, LMU Munich)

Sacrificing lives does not save the economy, according to this latest policy report from Panu Poutvaara and Madhinee Valeyatheepillay: countries that fail to suppress the pandemic risk a disastrous overburdening of their health care system and patients who could have been otherwise saved die. Short of an effective vaccine, no single measure is enough to stop the pandemic. Instead, societies need a combination of effective social distancing measures, careful hygiene, use of masks in indoor public spaces and contact tracing.

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Cover of EconPol Policy Report 29

The Sovereign-Bank Nexus: the Role of Debt and Monetary Policy

Hernán D. Seoane (EconPol Europe, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

In this policy report, Hernán D. Seoane (EconPol Europe, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid) analyzes one aspect of the sovereign-bank nexus: the feedback effects between banks and sovereigns derived from the holdings of sovereign debt in domestic banks. He examines how this relationship evolved during the European debt crisis and how it responded to the implementation of ECB monetary policy based on Open Market Operations and Marginal Lending Facilities. He finds evidence of carry trade behavior by banks, with some evidence that this channel may have been boosted by the liquidity provision policies.

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Cover of EconPol Policy Report 28

The Insurance Properties of Common Debt Issuance

Daniel Gros (EconPol Europe, CEPS)

The cost of public debt increases more than proportionally with the debt/GDP ratio. This convexity has one immediate implication in the presence of uncertainty about growth: the average social cost of public debt is higher than the contractual debt service cost embedded in the interest rate. In this EconPol policy report, Daniel Gros explains how Common European debt, which is financed by a pro-rata levy on the output of member states, provides an insurance function because countries which grow less have to contribute less (and vice versa). This insurance function becomes more important the longer the horizon and thus the uncertainty about (relative) economic performance.

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Cover of EconPol Policy Report 27

COVID-19, Trust and Solidarity in the EU

Cevat Giray Aksoy (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and King’s College London), Antonio Cabrales (EconPol Europe, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid), Mathias Dolls (EconPol Europe, ifo Institute), Lisa Windsteiger (Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance)

Recent evidence suggests that individual traits such as social capital are key determinants of how well the Covid-19 pandemic can be contained. It has been widely argued that the success of governments’ policies will be determined by trust and, at the same time, the pandemic itself is likely to affect trust, attitudes towards institutions and solidarity. This experimental study by Cevat Giray Aksoy (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and King’s College London), Antonio Cabrales (EconPol Europe, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid), Mathias Dolls (EconPol Europe, ifo Institute) and Lisa Windsteiger (Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance) into the impact of Covid-19 looks at levels of trust among people and public institutions across Europe. The authors surveyed people in France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Sweden to examine the effects of the virus on social trust, reciprocity, solidarity and institutional trust. The results reveal an overall increased sense of solidarity among people, but lower levels of trust in government in countries hit hardest by the virus.

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